This piece was published in Deccan Herald, India about 3 years ago. Hope you would enjoy this and also not miss the message. Testing drive By VARALOTTI RANGASAMY "You idiot, do you think you own this road? You fool...”, these were the only printable expletives that sprang from the mouth of my friend. We were driving down in a busy thoroughfare in the heart of a provincial town notorious for its congestion and unregulated traffic. The target of these expletives, an auto-rickshaw driver, appeared to be totally unruffled. I have been observing this friend of mine for some time. Whenever he drives the car he expects everyone else to be perfect in following the traffic rules. The slightest deviation by anyone is sufficient enough to make him shower choicest expletives on the offender. I thought that sane counsel is the need of the hour. “What’s the use of your shouting at them? Do you think they are going to refine themselves after hearing you out? Definitely not. Only you will get worked up, get BP, ulcers and lose your peace of mind.” My friend’s tone was very mild and confessional. “I realise that. But I can’t help it. I have been shouting like this for years and I cannot change now. It has become a habit, almost a reflex action for me. I want to call it quits. But how?” I offered help. “You just think like this. You shout at people because you expect them to be as responsible as you are and they fail you. Imagine these people are just dogs who cannot be trained in traffic regulations. Suppose a dog runs in the street on the wrong side and blocks your way? How will you shout?” He just sighed and kept quiet. When we met a month after that tension-filled ride he said with a pleasant smile: “You know something? I have got rid of that bad habit. I no longer shout at others while I am driving.” I was not convinced. “You don’t believe? Well, this evening, we are going for a test ride in the busiest street of this town. You can see it for yourself.” As I sat by his side in his car I asked him how he could so easily abandon the habit of several years. “There are techniques, young man. And the spiritual way is the best. I had been to a three-day meditation camp. I had a private audience with the Swamiji and told him about my problem. Swamiji gave a very simple solution. To shout at the offenders is just an impulsive reaction, he said. “Instead of shouting at them try to greet them with words like, “May God Bless You”, “May you live long” “May you be blessed” “May you live in peace” and so on. The tension in your mind will vanish and soon your whole nature will change and all good things will happen to you.” Now the car was entering one of the most congested roads in the town. A cyclist came squarely on the wrong side and was about to hit our car which he avoided in the last minute. I thought my friend was going to burst out. Instead my friend gently pulled down the shutters and greeted the cyclist with a large smile on his face: “May God bless you, young man.” The cyclist stared at my friend for a moment and went on his way. I was impressed. I made a mental note to ask for the address of the Swamiji. My wife needs such advice very badly. The next offender was a tricyclewallah who violated at least half a dozen traffic rules in one stroke before hitting the car. The dent on the side was clearly visible. I looked at my friend. He pulled down the shutters once again, stared at the offender, and with a stiff face bereft of any smile proclaimed in a mechanical voice: “May God bless you.” We were almost at the end of the road. Another fifty feet, the test will be over. But then came a young man in his flashy bike. He was talking over his mobile as he was riding. He had ignored a no-entry sign and ignored the oncoming traffic as well. Though my friend applied the brakes and the car came to a screeching halt, the bike collided head on with the car smashing its expensive headlight assembly. I looked at my friend. He was breathing heavily. Now was the real test. He pulled down the shutters once again, stared at the young man in the bike and shouted: “You fool..., (he used an unprintable, unparliamentary word) May God bless you”.